Shopify Plus is the enterprise version of the top-rated Shopify e-commerce platform. For most, the deciding factor between Shopify vs. Shopify Plus is cost.
Comparing just the monthly account and credit card fees, the hard cost break-even point between Shopify vs. Shopify Plus is about $800,000 in monthly sales. However, a profitable and growth-focused e-commerce business with around $2 million in annual revenues can still find plenty of value in Shopify Plus. This comprehensive comparison will help you decide which of these options makes more sense for your unique business.
Starts at $2,000 per month
-Full range of payment processing options (including Shopify Payments)
Everything Shopify offers plus:
-Limited user accounts
Email, phone, and chat support for all plans
Dedicated Launch Manager and ongoing Merchant Success Manager
-Startups and side-gig sellers
-High-volume multichannel sellers with annual revenues over $2M
Shopify: Best for startup to mid-size e-commerce stores
Shopify’s three small-business plans are ideal for all types of e-commerce businesses, from startups and side-gigs up to sellers processing thousands of orders each day. Shopify’s economical flat-rate business plans cost $29, $79 and $299 and deliver tools that let you quickly launch a starter website and grow it to a multimillion-dollar online business.
All Shopify flat-rate plans deliver modern, customizable website designs, multichannel sales via Amazon, eBay, Facebook Shop, Instagram, as well as dropshipping, built-in shipping labels, stellar marketing tools and more. Many highly-successful Shopify sellers stick with the small-business plans and never miss the added features of Shopify Plus.
However, having an enterprise-level service just a click away is a great overall benefit of the Shopify e-commerce platform. If your growth demands added bandwidth for high-velocity sales, customized user experiences or advanced operational support, you can simply move up to Shopify Plus instead of migrating to another platform.
Shopify Plus: Best for high-volume e-commerce businesses
Shopify Plus is the closest thing to an all-in-one e-commerce enterprise suite on the market today. For its $2,000 (and up) monthly fee, Shopify Plus expands upon everything you get with the Shopify small-business platform.
With Shopify Plus’ virtually unlimited bandwidth, you can accept over 10,000 transactions per minute, which prevents website errors or downtime during peak seasons and sales spikes. You can also set up time-saving operational automation for order processing, inventory management, customer segmentation, product publishing and more.
Perhaps the most notable features of Shopify Plus is its AI-driven user experience and checkout features designed to exponentially increase sales. These targeted tools deliver a customized homepage to shoppers based on their search and shopping history and add customized messaging to increase sales at checkout.
Also noteworthy are the multi-site options you get with Shopify Plus vs. Shopify. You can manage several website brands within your Shopify Plus account — something you can’t do in any of Shopify’s small-business plans. You can even set up customer-specific pricing on your website to display volume discounts or wholesale pricing based on customer account types.
Clearly, Shopify Plus provides an expanded toolkit that both supports high-volume sales and helps growth-oriented businesses achieve higher sales and increase cart size. Shopify Plus pricing might be a stretch for growing business, but the revenue potential can quickly offset its higher price tag.
Shopify Plus is simply an expansion of all of the sales tools and features that standard Shopify small-business plans offer. A direct Shopify vs. Shopify Plus comparison is simply a study of all that you get for Shopify Plus’ much higher price tag.
Shopify Plus pricing isn’t publicly published. Instead, you have to request a quote, and your Shopify Plus pricing will be based on a percentage of your monthly revenues. For most move-up sellers, this percentage is 0.25% of monthly revenues.
However, Shopify Plus also has a minimum monthly fee of $2,000 and a cap at $40,000 per month. So, regardless of your monthly sales, you’ll always pay a minimum of $2,000 and no more than $40,000 per month on Shopify Plus.
To put it into perspective:
$800,000 in monthly sales x 0.25% (.0025) = $2,000 in monthly fees (the minimum level).
$1.5 million in monthly sales x 0.25% (.0025) = $3,750 in monthly fees.
$5 million in monthly sales x 0.25% (.0025) = $12,500 in monthly fees.
$16 million in monthly sales x 0.25% (.0025) = $40,000 in monthly fees (capped fee).
Shopify Plus also locks you into a one-year contract, unlike Shopify’s cancel-anytime flat-rate plans. You can see Shopify Plus is geared for established businesses with a track record of success and income stability.
Businesses that don’t come close to $800,000 in monthly revenues can find plenty of value in Shopify Plus. With conversion-driving tools that increase revenue growth and lower credit card processing fees compared to Shopify, Shopify Plus can be a great fit for businesses at around $2 million in annual sales.
In contrast to Shopify Plus pricing, Shopify offers three economical flat-rate e-commerce plans which cost $29, $79 and $299 per month. With Shopify’s small-business plans, your monthly fee always stays the same, whether you have $10 or $100,000 in monthly sales.
Each Shopify small-business plan supports multichannel sales for Amazon, eBay, Facebook and more, plus delivers a complete website solution with plenty of built-in marketing and business management tools.
As you move up Shopify’s flat-rate plan levels, you gain more staff accounts and get access to added features, like gift cards, advanced shipping and reporting tools.
Credit card processing fees
Both Shopify and Shopify Plus include the built-in Shopify Payments credit card processing solution. This is the most popular payment processing option for most Shopify and Shopify Plus users — mainly since Shopify adds a transaction fee if you use another payment provider, like PayPal or your own merchant account. Using Shopify Payments avoids this added fee.
On Shopify’s small-business plans, Shopify Payments fees and “outside provider” fees are based on your Shopify plan level.
Under Shopify’s small-business plans, Shopify Payments fees start at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction on the $29 monthly plan, and the percentage drops to 2.6% and 2.4% on the $79 and $299 monthly plans, respectively. Likewise, the “other processor” fee is lower on the more expensive plans.
Shopify Plus users pay lower Shopify Payments rates, and these are typically negotiated based on your credit card sale volumes. Most sellers moving from Shopify to Shopify Plus garner a 2.15% plus 30 cents rate for Shopify Payments, and the “other provider” transaction fee drops to 0.15%.
Moving from 2.4% plus 30 cents per transaction on Shopify’s $299 monthly plan to 2.15% plus 30 cents on Shopify Plus might not sound like much. But when you’re processing around $450,000 in payments per month, you’re closing in on the tipping point.
Payment processing fees
Shopify Payment %
Even at $450,000 in monthly sales, overall Shopify Plus pricing is slightly more than Shopify’s $299 flat-rate plan. However, it’s very close to the tipping point and, for most sellers, is likely worth the extra cost when you consider the many added features Shopify Plus brings to the mix.
For sellers looking to grow revenues quickly, stepping up to Shopify Plus — even well before reaching this $450,000 monthly sales tipping point — can be a worthwhile investment. In fact, some Shopify experts advise moving up when annual sales reach around $2 million, since the Shopify Plus platform sets the stage for faster growth.
Shopify Plus customization
Shopify Plus uses behavior-driven AI and advanced user experience tools to deliver a completely customer-centric online experience.
Create personalized homepage displays
You can customize your Shopify Plus website homepage displays based on customer purchase history and behavior. Using Shopify Scripts and Shopify Flows — tools only available to Shopify Plus users — you can populate your homepage with products likely to interest your customers. You can also display personalized discount pricing and coupon deals based on your customer presets using Flows and Scripts.
Deliver virtual “in-home” experiences
Using Shopify Plus’s augmented reality, 3D and video technology within product pages, you can create “live” in-home previews that replicate — and improve upon — the retail shopping experience.
Craft conversion-driving checkout pages
Shopify Plus lets you customize checkout pages and flows, which is something you can’t do on Shopify’s flat-rate plans. Incorporating progressive coupons and offers based on the items in the cart, cart totals and customer presets is proven to dramatically increase conversions and cart totals.
Create an impulse-buy experience
Shopify Plus integrates one-click digital wallet checkout right within the product page. This quick-buy feature is proven to boost conversions by providing an impulse-buy experience and minimize “cart remorse” and abandoned carts.
Advanced pricing, shipping and operational flows
Shopify Plus provides users with an array of customized pricing, automation and shipping options. These are also defined and enabled using Shopify Scripts and Shopify Flows. Here are a few ways you can customize your pricing and shipping and automate operational flows in Shopify Plus.
Create customer-based pricing
Using Scripts and Flows, you can define all types of customer-based pricing tables and volume discount displays and assign these to your customer presets. For example, you can create a Gold-member price discount or set up wholesale price structures that only display when those customer types log into your website.
Offer customer-centric shipping
Shopify Plus supports a huge range of specialty shipping and delivery options that you can set up using Shopify Scripts. These include shipping options and discounts based on customer presets — like offering freight shipping to wholesale customers only. Likewise, you can define item-specific shipping fees or discounts and customer-driven order minimums.
Automate your operations
Shopify Plus Flows and Scripts also let you set time-saving automation rules to streamline your operations. For example, you can set up a Flow to automatically email low-inventory alerts to specific staff or send these alerts to productivity tools like Trello or Slack.
Shopify Flow also lets you route orders to various fulfillment centers, dropshippers or in-house warehouse groups. It can also trigger a customer service follow-up call if there’s an inventory issue or shipping concern. You can set up all types of time-saving Flows based on specific triggers and actions.
You can also use Flows to assign customers to presets based on a current checkout or overall purchase history. This is the key to automating the personalized user experiences like the customer-targeted home page, coupon and pricing displays covered in the previous section.
For example, the Flow pictured below automatically assigns a customer to a loyalty program based on order total and marketing opt-in. Once the customer is tagged to the loyalty program, they’ll automatically experience any price, home page, checkout and shipping personalization that targets loyalty program customers.
Every minute of website downtime can mean thousands in lost sales for volume sellers. Here, Shopify Plus’ truly unlimited bandwidth capacity is a major benefit over Shopify.
Shopify Plus websites run on lightning-fast servers with no bandwidth, storage or capacity limitations. These systems are designed to handle over 10,000 transactions per minute. This ensures that your customers always experience the fastest, most error-free virtual experience possible — from initial search to checkout.
Shopify flat-rate plans all support unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, which means you won’t be charged for added storage or bandwidth allocations based on traffic spikes.
However, the flat-rate plans do have bandwidth ceilings and, though it’s rare, sellers can experience site delays or errors during traffic spikes from flash sales or national media coverage.
Unlimited staff accounts
Shopify Plus supports unlimited staff accounts, compared to Shopify’s limited staff accounts which start at two on the $29 monthly plan and top out at 15 on the $299 plan. If you have operations, marketing, warehouse, customer service and web development staff all accessing Shopify, unlimited user accounts can seriously boost productivity.
Multiple website support
Shopify Plus supports multiple versions of your website, so you can create country, language and currency-specific websites if selling overseas. You can also run a unique wholesale version of your website with wholesale price lists, discount structures and shipping options that display based on your customer presets.
In contrast, Shopify flat-rate plans all support just a single website with basic language and currency translators and pricing features.
Dedicated account managers
Shopify has a terrific reputation for customer service all-around. Any seller on its flat-rate small-business plans can get assistance 24/7 and that includes phone, chat, email and an extensive knowledge base with tutorials.
Shopify Plus also expands this feature by assigning a dedicated Launch Manager for launching on or upgrading to Shopify Plus. Ongoing support and day-to-day issues are handled by a dedicated Merchant Success Manager (MSM).
Unlike Shopify’s general support where sellers reach a new service representative each time, Shopify Plus Launch Managers and MSMs have hands-on knowledge of client accounts. They’re not just passive support staff, either. Instead, they’re platform partners working to ensure you’re using all of the tools at your disposal to grow your Shopify Plus store.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.